Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Same Spirit with Modern Edge; with Lower Prices and Much-Needed Cabin Improvements, Grant Edwards Finds a Retro Classic Now Has Real-World Appeal

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Same Spirit with Modern Edge; with Lower Prices and Much-Needed Cabin Improvements, Grant Edwards Finds a Retro Classic Now Has Real-World Appeal

Article excerpt

HARK back to the originals, and Minis from more than five decades ago made a name for themselves for two good reasons.

They were cheap to buy and to run. Fast forward to the modern day resurrection and it is a vastly different scene.

BMW has been behind the renaissance with an eye on a unique niche. Those who like a contemporary take on a classic with a chic edge.

Until recently you also needed deep pockets, but Mini has dropped prices across the range which now starts from a far more appealing $26,650 - down five grand.

The third-generation modern Mini has increased interior space after growing in every direction, lost weight and also made big strides in functionality.

Comfort

Retro inspiration maintains a presence, but thankfully this new variant tones things down somewhat.

In a nod to generations harking back 50 years, the recent iterations saw the speedometer located central on the dash. While that may have worked when the Mini was far more "mini", nowadays it's a functional faux pas.

This new model is vastly improved. The speedo is now in front of the driver, with the tacho sitting on its left-hand flank while on the other side is a digital fuel gauge.

The cabin is still littered with the retro feel throughout, and the circular central computer system is controlled via a console dial - much like offerings from parent company BMW.

While still a pint-sized car, it doesn't feel like the walls are closing in around you. Much of the plastics have been replaced by softer materials and another new internal design positive is the electric window controls on the front doors rather than the centre stack.

On the road

Fun remains at the forefront of getting behind the wheel.

You sit low, with a steering sensation that has a racy persona. It's a car begging to be driven hard.

From the moment you look to set off it's clear this is no run-of-the-mill steer.

Starting the car is done via a toggle. By having the key in the car you just press the toggle down for start and stop.

Sampling the Cooper Automatic and S variants, both exuded the traditional go-kart qualities expected of the marque. …

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